Live music 2022

I went to multiple live rock concerts in 2022 for the first time in years and it was all a result of my 17 year-old daughter's prompting. In July she was visiting a best friend in Montpellier, France. Her friend's parents went to see The Smile, Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood's band, in the Arènes de Nîmes. My kid discovered that the band would be in Denver in December 2022 and insisted I get tickets. I did. And then we started looking into which bands were playing at Red Rocks at the end of that venue's season and found tickets to see King Gizzard's long-delayed Red Rocks debut. I got tickets for that, too.

I hadn't been to Red Rocks since the 20th century (Lyle Lovett in 1998, if I remember correctly). All the good things about this venue remain, particularly the views over the plains at thunderstorms or the Moon. King Gizzard was amazing. They took some selfies, referred to us affectionately as "cunts" (they are Australian millenials), invited us to "get fucked up and love each other", and then rocked everyone's socks off for 3 hours. Here's the set list and a full recording of the show. They kicked off with "Mars for the Rich", which is increasingly appropriate.

Moonrise from Red Rocks

Getting to Red Rocks and back from Fort Collins is a slog. Denver's Mission Ballroom is much more accessible. I relaxed in the passenger seat while my daughter drove and we killed some time in a River North pub. In the line for the door my daughter and I met a couple from Kansas City who were there for their second show and who had all kinds of stories and advice for navigating the venue. The Mission Ballroom has less than half the capacity of Red Rocks and feels more intimate. We were seated, not on the floor, but could easily see the band. The band played a bunch of yet unreleased songs and treated us to an extra heavy version of Bending Hectic in the encore. We were super satisfied!

Denver's Mission Ballroom

These shows were great musically and a great chance to connect with a teenager in the context of different adult audiences. The King Gizzard crowd was young, like 5-10 years older than my kid, and exuberantly high. The Smile's audience was about 10-15 years older than that and much more subtly high. If you're a parent of a high school junior or senior you may know what it's like to go to shows like this. The chance to have candid conversations about partying and intoxication and the consequences is something you have to seize if you can. Find a band you all like and do it!

We don't have anything on our future concert schedule except They Might be Giants in May, but we're looking. The two of us are the more natural late night rock-and-rolling team of the family and are looking forward to more.